Nov 28, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) smiles as he accepts the Phil Simms All Iron award with running back DeMarco Murray (29) against the Oakland Raiders during a NFL football game on Thanksgiving at AT

Are Playoffs with Early Exit or High Draft Picks Better for Dallas Cowboys


We are fresh off a Thanksgiving day Dallas Cowboys 31-24 come from behind win against the Oakland Raiders.  Dallas finally harnessed that ever-elusive balanced offensive attack rushing 30 times for 144 yards in 64 total plays.  This season’s logic says that if the Cowboys run the ball, usually the Cowboys win the game.

Also factoring into the Thanksgiving win was a decent defensive effort where Dallas allowed just 50 rushing yards against a Oakland team with a stout ground game.  The ‘Boys defense stuffed the Oakland runners all game giving up just 2 yards per rush.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys did not get any playoff help from the Arizona Cardinals who lost to a suddenly surging (4 wins in a row) Philadelphia Eagles team who held the high scoring Cardinals to just 21 points.  On the flip side, however, the Washington Redskins were eliminated from playoff contention against a struggling New York Giants team.

Optimism is soaring for Cowboys Nation, and many believe all NFC East Championship roads are leading to the December 29, 2013 meeting versus the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium, which sets up my hypothetical scenario and corresponding question.

Allow for one qualification however, know that I have a strong opinion on the subject, but am not revealing my thoughts because I would rather not skew any open debate in Internet/FaceBook/Twitter-verse.

Do Dallas Cowboys fan prefer the Cowboys make it into the playoffs given that there may be an early (completely hypothetical) exit, or does Cowboys Nation prefer Dallas miss the playoffs altogether thus setting the club up for a higher draft pick?

I realize this is all conjecture, and there are many “what if” scenarios in asking the question alone, but play along with me as I thought the notion of a win small or win in the draft question is interesting.

With a 2013 Dallas Cowboys playoff berth, the assumption would be that the Cowboys eventually beat out the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East championship, or the Cowboys snuck into “the tournament” as a Wildcard.

In the playoff scenario, the Cowboys have the glory of winning another NFC East championship to add to the club’s already impressive resume.  Once in the playoffs, anything can happen and Dallas could make a deep run resulting in an NFC Championship or even, dare I say Super Bowl contention.  Gives a Cowboys devotee the warm fuzzies, does it not?

On the flip side taking the higher draft pick stance, Dallas would end up missing the playoffs but would hypothetically wind up with a low teens level draft pick.  In this fantasy land, the Cowboys end in another disappointing season without the playoffs.

Tony Romo is blamed summarily for the non-playoff season and everyone calls for head coach Jason Garrett’s or even “GM Jerry Jones’” head.  Once the dust settles, the idea of a low teens draft pick, as opposed to a mid-twenties pick, starts to warm up to Cowboys Nation allowing for the possibility of drafting a shiny new defensive end (Rushman) taking over for the likely gone Anthony Spencer or even a highly disruptive defensive tackle to replace the departed Jay Ratliff.

So, I put the question to you, Cowboys Nation, is it full throttle run for the playoffs with a possible early exit, or go for the higher draft pick?

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  • Jd

    I would always rather make the playoffs than not. But there’s too many scenarios to answer either way. Is Jerry going to make a concentrated effort to get the cap situation corrected? Is the rumor of him wanting to bring in Jared Allen true? Is Kiffin going to stick around, and if so, he will want to draft a big time safety. That’s his bread and butter player on defense. So drafting that big time rusher, who I think we need, probably won’t happen.
    What’s the number of player turnover going to be? Is Hatcher & Spencer going to get another chance?

    And the biggest question… Even if Dallas makes the playoffs, are they truly good enough to win a game, let alone make a run at the Super Bowl?

  • Old Frog

    At this point I guess it’s an early exit from the playoffs. The Cowboys have already won too many games to get a top 10 pick. Unfortunately missing the playoffs and getting mid-round picks is still a real possibility.

    • Jd

      I think that would be best case scenario for us. Make the playoffs so jj doesn’t do something stupid again and go off the handle. But the issues this team faces in the off season, I believe, far out way what happens this season.
      And what I mean is… Let’s say we make the playoffs and lose our game. Would jj view that as the same as us not making the playoffs by 1 game & completely go off the deep end and fire everyone & pretty much ruin everything this team is working towards?
      Because I’m actually one of the only people, at least by reading a lot of other comments on blogs & posts, who believe Kiffin should come back. I don’t think you can fully grade Kiffin on this season when injuries clearly hampered what his vision of this defense could have or should have been.
      Callahan on the other hand, I am still not a believer that he’s the right OC for this team.
      For a team who was absolutely brilliant on offense against Denver, and hasn’t even come close to that, other than a quarter here and there and the second half against Oakland, to me, isn’t the right guy for this offensive team.

      I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but our offense should be able to move the ball at will against most of the teams in the league and especially quite a few who we have played against. 14 points against the Giants, they have no pass rush & their secondary is awful. Minnesota, their zone blitzing defense screams, please throw a 15 yard slant & screens all day long. Philadelphia, Washington, and even Oakland, we should have put up 30-40 points on those teams.

      Don’t get me wrong, not every team in this league, who has top offenses put up big numbers all the time. But they do it a lot more often than we do.

      And next Monday is going to tell us exactly where this offense really is. The Bears defense right now, is probably just as bad as ours, if not worse.
      And I think the only true question surrounding this team is, will Callahan be back or not.

  • Ed

    I am less interested in draft position than I am in the powers that be making wise choices. I still don’t get why we needed another TE more than a DE, DB, T, G , etc.

    Besides, tanking is a losers mentality.

    • Earl Robertson

      They have use 3 second round draft picks on TE they don’t need and they never use!!! That could be 3 players on defense right now making a difference!!

    • Nick

      I agree. We are so weak on defense I will never understand why we snagged a project tight end so early. I love the Frederick pick and Williams seems to be working out, but Escobar was pretty unnecessary. I think we need safety, DT, or DE help. Our offense is pretty much perfect (bad play calling but is there anyone on offense who is a weak spot)

  • Don Adams

    I think this will be a dangerous team in the playoffs they went toe to toe with the broncos and chiefs they need to win the division and hope they get a rematch with the saints for some payback the team that scares me is seattle at home

  • jayhwk01

    Probably the draft….assuming King Jerry can make a wise choice. Buuuttttt I don’t care. I want not just the playoffs but playoff WINS. Long past time for another Super Bowl title.

  • Stephanie Butler Pignatore

    That’s a dumb question….. a playoff run of course. I want to shut up these Cowboys haters and Romo haters! There is always gonna be someone to replace or whatever. We can ball when we are healthy and we are getting healthy! I stand behind my Boys you can do it! All the way!!!!!

  • DFWFRED

    I think every Cowboy fan wants to make the playoffs, but we know there is virtually no chance we are going to the Super Bowl. I mean be realistic, our defense is terrible and our offense rarely performs up to its ability. The road to the Super Bowl looks to be going through Seattle and we were destroyed by New Orleans. If we have no shot at the Super Bowl then I prefer the draft pick which we sorely need. However with JJ making the decisions it doesn’t much matter.

  • californy

    The playoff are never my real goal. The real goal is winning championships. I look at the large picture our immediate situation and long term out look.. In 2014 The boys are going to be with out hatcher and Spencer under Contract, Dez Contract is coming to an end. This team is going to have 10 players equal to 93 million in contract next year. We will be over this year cap by 30 million dollar. We have a 32 rated defense, and we need better younger players. Mo is a bust. We don’t have a past rush. Ware is getting old and cant play 16 games anymore. Miles Austin must be moved or cut.

    I don’t matter where we draft what matter is getting better players. JJ is one of the worst GM in the NFL. As long as he is in the picture The Cowboys future will be bleak.. I only value high draft picks because they have more value in a trade down. I don’t like first rd picks. If we picked 17, just by trading down I could get 2 2rd Draft Picks, 3 Third rd Draft picks, and 3 5th rd draft picks and 2 Draft picks in the 6th rd. That is 5 additional picks to improve the team. The 2009 wasn’t about how many draft picks we had, it was about JJ being a bad GM. JJ sealed his fate as The NFL worst GM by going 1-19 in the 2008-2009 Draft.

  • setrimacoky

    Playoffs! Every year Jerry moves his draft picks around anyway. Go for broke!

  • Jack Farguson

    Here are some facts. 1.The last three years the Superbowl has been won by teams that barely made the playoffs. I remember Green bay, New York, and Baltimore winning the Superbowl as 9 and 7 entries into the playoffs. I’m sure their fans felt the same way. I’m still hopeful that the cowboys will make a deep run and want to see them get there.

    2. I have seen signs of greatness, (ie Philadelphia, Denver, and St Louis)not to mention the Thanksgiving comeback. Lets don’t count them out yet. If they fall then we’ll be looking for those guys to help the team but most of the teams in the league this year are only mediocre.
    3. I’ve seen the good teams stay good with the late picks.